According to Kate Moss, ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’. No doubt this is true when one is a supermodel, paid several millions of pounds a year for being the same size as the sticks of celery one presumably lives on, but given that, sadly for me, my bank balance doesn’t treble each time I skip a meal, I’m afraid I don’t wholeheartedly agree with Ms Moss’ theory. Besides which, you’d be hard pushed to convince me that being a size zero is worth foregoing a KitKat Chunky Orange and a mug of tea.
Whilst I’m not a fan of starving myself, I do like to try to counterbalance all the gluten I consume in its various sweet and savoury forms; and so recently, in addition to swimming regularly, I’ve enlisted a personal trainer to push me a little further than I might like to push myself (which admittedly, is not very far at all).
This means that every Friday at 6.45am, you will now find me in my local park, feebly attempting press ups, burpees, squat jumps and all manner of other torturous exercises whilst gasping for breath and trying not to collapse face first into the squelchy mud. The subsequent three days are spent in agony as my broken body tries to recover from being pushed to do things it was clearly never built to do. An athlete’s body it isn’t.
Despite all this, I love it: I love the exhilaration of being pushed to the limit; I love the endorphin rush when the hour is up and I can feel proud I got through it; I even love the bizarrely satisfying pain of muscle fatigue and aching for days after. Perhaps I love it because I know that exercising means I can indulge in a nice slice of cake. Cake just like this salted caramel and chocolate orange torte!
I'm posting this torte now because I feel it's timely in the run-up to Christmas: it's an easy way to impress people if you're entertaining over the festive season and those I made it for seemed to find it pretty yumma. I reckon this is one that might even persuade old Kate that some things do taste better than skinny feels.
Adapted from BBC Good Food's Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte
- 400g Digestive biscuits
- 120g unsalted butter, melted
- 300g caramel, refrigerated, plus 1tsp Maldon salt if the caramel is not already salted (I used Tesco's Finest Salted Caramel - a 260g jar was enough for this dessert. Note that Carnation Caramel is far too runny and will leak out. Trust me, I learnt this the hard way!)
- 300g plain chocolate (40% cocoa)
- 600ml double cream
- Zest of two oranges
Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag or bowl with the end of a rolling pin, or blitz them in a food processor. Stir into the melted butter and mix well to combine.
Press the crushed biscuit and butter mix into the bottom of the tin. With your fingers or the base of a glass, press some of the biscuit mix from the centre out to the circumference of the tin to create a sort of well with a rim that is about 1cm high all around and 2cm in depth. This is to contain the caramel if it's runny and stop it from leaking out of the torte. Chill for 10 mins.
If using caramel that's not already salted, stir the Maldon salt into it and stir. If using caramel that's already salted, there's no need for extra salt.
Spoon the caramel onto the biscuit base, into the central well that you've created, then chill again, for at least half an hour.
Break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl.
Heat the cream in a saucepan on the stove until it starts to simmer, then take it off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 30 seconds before beating the two together with a spatula until you have a smooth, glossy ganache, then stir in the orange zest.
Allow the ganache to cool and thicken for about an hour, then gently pour it into the cake tin, over the biscuit and caramel. Chill in the fridge overnight, or if you are serving it on the same day as making it, set it in the freezer for two to three hours.
When ready to serve, remove the torte from the tin, then carefully peel off the strip of paper and transfer to a serving plate.